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Heroin on its own is deadly enough. But strains of heroin laced with the powerful pain killing drug fentanyl have been hitting the streets of Indianapolis, and have been linked to a spike in fatal overdoses. In some cases, law enforcement has said that dealers are selling straight fentanyl marketed as heroin.
So where is the new drug coming from, and how is law enforcement trying to stop its deadly spread?
Different Drug, More Deadly Effect
According to the Indy Star, paramedics in the Indianapolis area saw a number of overdoses due to fentanyl-laced heroin a few months ago. And undercover agents in Indianapolis have reportedly purchased what they thought was heroin, only to discover later it was straight fentanyl. "It's a very scary time right now," special agent in charge of the DEA's Indianapolis office, Greg Westfall said. "It is deadly."
Fentanyl is a painkiller normally prescribed to patients recovering from surgery, and the DEA says the synthetic opioid is about 50 times more potent than heroin. The Agency believes the version being sold in Indianapolis is likely a generic produced in China and imported via Mexican cartels. Law enforcement is hoping to work their way up the food chain until they can target the supplier.
Drug Possession in Indianapolis
The DEA's focus on fentanyl likely means more crackdowns on heroin purchasers and sellers, even those who aren't trying to buy or don't realize they've purchased the drug. South of Indianapolis, in Seymour, four people overdosed on fentanyl in the same home, including the man who purchased and resold the drug, likely unaware it had been laced.
But it may not matter if you thought you were buying heroin if you've been arrested for buying fentanyl instead -- both are controlled substances under DEA protocols. And if you've been arrested or charged with any possession or sale of drugs, your best thought would be to call an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.